The Park of the Pines is a campground owned by the Community of Christ and administered by the Michigan Mission Center. It was purchased for the church (then the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) in 1920 as a reunion grounds for the Northern Michigan District. It was also the reunion grounds for the Northwest Michigan District and the Michigan International District. It is believed to be the first reunion grounds owned by the church.
In 1909 the reunion was held at Lake Cadillac. In 1920 reunion was held at a city park in Boyne City. It was then realized that a place was needed to meet for such reunions. Arthur Starks as District President, assisted by Allen Schreur, R D Davis, and Artie Ecker, and possibly Byron Doty and Hector McKinnon began a search for an ideal spot to have a place where the church could provide facilities for future camping and fellowship experiences. The grounds originally consisted of 15 acres and were purchased for about $600. The first reunion on the grounds was August 19 through 29 of 1921. Areas were cleared for tents and a large tent was purchased to be used for worship meetings.
Services were held in the big tent for two years, after which it was used for youth classes and meetings. The auditorium was ready for its first service in 1923 and President F M Smith gave the dedicatory sermon. Its construction was furnished and supervised by Dirk Schreur and Richard Hartnell. They also constructed the Dining Hall where the guest ministry was fed. That later became the Primary Building and years later it was removed to build the lodge building. The current Dining Hall and the Junior Building were built about 1936. The Rec Hall was built about 1952 and the cement block building was built about 1961.
In 1963 the "Anderson Property" was purchased for $24,000 adding 9 acres to the original park. Today the park consists of just over 24 acres.
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First reunion (family church camp) held at Park of the Pines. A hard to read sign nailed to a tree in the background reads "Quietness Please"
Pictures from 1924. 1-Heading to Park of the Pines from Onaway, MI.Elmer Parkes & family 2-Setting up the tent at the Park, Elmer Parkes Sr. 3-Park of the Pines band. 4-Apostle Edwards. *Photo's courtesy Carla Parkes
Rare photo of President F.M. Smith in 1923 at Park of the Pines.
*Photo courtesy Carla Parkes